Ruminations of spring
IN BLOOM: A familiar scene of spring in D.C. (Photo:ghbrett/Flickr)
The most celebrated return of spring happens at the end of March/early April with D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival. The trees were gifted to the United States from Japan in 1912, as a symbol of friendship. Nowadays, the blooms have become a signature spring event, bringing out lovers, families, friends, photo enthusiasts and visitors from all over the world to see the soft bursts of buds and petals.
One tradition that is also soon to return is the seasonal opening of farmers markets in the region. Virginia and Maryland are populated with many farms soon to be selling their earth-nurtured wares. Their return means fresh goods and another opportunity to flex your "Go Local" muscles after a long winter. To find markets in your areas, see http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/vagrown/index.shtml (Virginia) or http://www.mda.state.md.us/md_products/farmers_market_dir.php (Maryland).
Aside from pillowy-pink blossoms and farm stands, this year's spring appears to carry a heavier meaning. The recent past has seen a decline in jobs, stability and a general wounding of the American dream. As of March, the economic market has begun to make some positive strides, and in spite of an increase in the unemployment rate statistics for the D.C. metro area, many economists take all these signs as a positive step forward. (Increased unemployment rates indicate increased job interest and applications, which mean that there are potentially more jobs to be had). Therefore, this spring is more than just a physical renewal of the surrounds, but rather brings with it a need for spiritual renewal as well.
Today, in particular, is a pretty day in D.C. A peek out the office window shows more people out and about now than just three weeks ago. Many rolling up their sleeves to soak in the Vitamin D they've been missing all winter long, taking their time rather than sprinting to their next destination. The city itself becomes more alive in spring. The veil of winter sedation and slumber is being lifted and will be put away for good (for eight months, anyway). There is a twinge of nervous excitement at the change, a subtle electric charge in the air, which many around here have started to respond to. It is an enjoyable shift in local life — a treasured one, perhaps.
Hello, spring. You've been sorely missed.